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Villagers' five options to halt travellers site

More than 60 people attend an extraordinary meeting in Silchester

Charlotte Booth

Reporter:

Charlotte Booth

Contact:

01635 886637

plans

SILCHESTER Parish Council held an extraordinary meeting to discuss a planning application for a permanent traveller site on land adjacent to Culham’s Mill. 

Plans were submitted to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for 13 plots, which, if approved, will each house a touring caravan, static caravan, and a day room. 

Parish council chair Simon Mahaffey opened the meeting, held last Monday, and said: “I’m aware that this is a very emotive subject.

“I can’t see anyone from the travelling community here, but I would like to remind everyone of the Race Relations Act, and everyone should stick to facts.”

More than 60 members of the public attended the meeting and three councillors were residing.

During the meeting, Mr Mahaffey encouraged all the residents to write a letter of objection to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

He said: “Volume is the key. He who shouts loudest gets served first.

“It is down to the village and the locals to spread the word.

“You don’t have to be a resident, or even be over 18.

“My nine-year-old might be signing it.”

The residents in attendance were given five options – to do nothing, write a letter to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in support of the plan, sign the template letter which will be produced by the parish council, write a personal letter of objection, or wait for the Calleva Society to produce a dossier and sign that. 

The parish council is currently in the process of drafting a template letter with 16 objections relating to the planning application itself.

These include lead contamination from the site’s previous use by clay pigeon shooters, lack of local amenities, lack of integration within the local community and the increase in population by as much as 10 per cent based on five people per plot. 

Aaron Smith, from Fowlers Architecture and Planning LLP, was also in attendance at the meeting.

He has been employed by the Calleva Society, the resident group which recently raised £12,000 to fight this planning application. 

 

 

In a meeting held in February, there were 234 votes to oppose any plans for a permanent traveller site – and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council received more than 300 phone calls of complaint when the first hardcore was laid, in breach of a High Court injunction.

Head of planning and infrastructure at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Matthew Evans, said: “The injunction remains in place and will do so pending the outcome of the current planning application, or any appeal, or enforcement notice, unless a court decides otherwise.

“An application has been made by the landowners to vary the terms of the injunction to allow some occupation of the site which the council is defending.

“This will be heard by the High Court on 19 September.

“Until this determination, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council will continue to proactively monitor the site and compliance with the injunction.”

The injunction was served in February and specifies no tree-felling or taking building materials on to the site.

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